§ Mr. Gould
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of manufactured exports is invoiced in sterling; what is the average delay between booking an order and shipment and between shipment and payment; and what has been the impact on export prices of (a) exchange cover and (b) increased finance charges as a result of higher interest rates.
§ Mr. Meacher
A sample analysis of export documents for April 1976 showed that, in that month, 80 per cent. of manufactured exports, by value, were invoiced in sterling. However, as the results of the analysis, which were published inTrade and Industry on 7th January 1977, explain, this may overstate the proportion of exports effectively priced in sterling.
Information on the delay between booking an order and shipment is available only for the engineering industries. A survey conducted amongst firms in the mechanical, electrical, and instrument engineering industries showed that, in October 1975, the average lag was about six months. There is, however, substantial variation for the different products in these industries. Further, the average lag is likely to vary with the economic cycle, according to the state of firms' order books.
Information on the delay between export shipment and payment is provided by the analysis of the length of trade credit extended given in table 47 of Business Monitor M4, "Overseas Transactions, 1974".833W
No reliable estimates of the effects on export prices of either exchange cover or higher interest rates are available.